The Interview Interview: Caroline Corso de Carvalho

When the pandemic’s economical crisis started to impact European industries, Caroline (Carol) and I were working for a travel and culture company. Like many others, our contracts couldn’t be renewed. We decided to keep on supporting each other during this job-grieving period. As we talked about our doubts and fears, I soon realized how important it was to share our stories. To show that being #OpenToWork on LinkedIn doesn’t make you desperate, that job seekers don’t lose their identity when they lose their jobs; that job seeking is, in fact, a full-time job. And it is our job, our responsibility, to take this opportunity to re-think the way we work, and why we do so. With this new series of interviews, I hope I can show that we are more than ‘the unemployed’, that we are not alone, and that… nothing is permanent (read until the end if you don’t believe me).

So, Carol, as this is, after all, an interview on interviews: ‘tell us a bit about yourself…’

Since people usually answer with where they are from, their age, and what they do for a living, I’ll start with: I’m Caroline, a proud Brazilian Gaucha with roots in Italy. I am 33, and I studied Journalism, Linguistics & Education, and got a Master’s in Digital Marketing. I have worked in both areas, as a journalist and a teacher. But, since I studied Journalism, I was aiming to work in Corporate Communication, specializing in Marketing and Branding. I’m particularly interested in these sectors, as they combine communication and creativity, characteristics of my personality that I like to apply to my work environment. 

What I most value in life is love and peace; the keys to a better world for every creature on this planet. At work, I value honesty, respect, and kindness. I believe a work environment is better when people listen to each other, comprehend what happens, and show empathy. Together, we are powerful enough to find out the right solutions and ideas. 

Job hunting is often a period of self-reflection. What have you learned about yourself while you were looking for a job?

It has been a rollercoaster because I went through very dark moments. I was scared about the future, even more in the middle of this battle against Corona. I learned that I needed to be kind to myself, take my time, and treat myself well. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, with impostor syndrome feelings, believing that my work was never enough or satisfactory… I needed help from friends and professionals to heal myself and see how many beautiful and unique things I had accomplished in my career and personal life. I learned to value myself as I should – as a professional and as a person. 

I believe the universe has a way of sending us signals, and when you put the right efforts into what you want, things do happen.

A good ‘job search routine’ helps with giving yourself structure and motivation. Have you built up one yourself, or do you have any tips for other job searchers?

I did. But in the beginning, I made the mistake of sending out as many resumes as I could, without any structure. It is not the best approach, as an HR manager is eventually going to figure out that you are just ‘forwarding’ your resume. Besides, you also need to choose the company and environment you feel comfortable in, with a purpose that speaks to you. Feeling integrated and welcomed is fundamental. But, of course, during a pandemic, you get afraid of what the future holds for you and want to think practical. I believe the universe has a way of sending us signals, and when you put the right efforts into what you want, things do happen. It’s a matter of time, patience, and also… learning! 

Friends and former colleagues were crucial to helping me set up my resume and cover letters, and getting rid of bad feelings. I am eternally grateful to them. With some other colleagues who got laid off, we even created a WhatsApp group, the We Can Do It! Club. We supported and cheered up each other, shared job vacancies, reviewed our CVs…

I also used the app Notion to create a ‘job search’ project: which courses to follow, who I should talk to, an infosheet with all the companies I had contacted, etc. It helped me keep things structured and feel less anxious. 

Credits: Claire Faugeroux.

How do you usually prepare for an interview?

It may sound funny, but I start with cleaning up my house. It’s a way to organize my thoughts. While I clean up, I start preparing my speech and answers, ideas that I would like to share with the recruiters. After that, I research the company again, see what they write on their website and social media. A career coach also helped me focus more efficiently on my skills and on how to get interviews. 

We are not just our resume; our characteristics go beyond the .pdf document that we attach to our application.

I know you have been enrolling in a lot of e-learning platforms! What projects are you currently working on?

Indeed, I have been updating some skills, specifically when it involved metrics and new tools for marketing (which are essential in this sector). But I also like to follow courses on creativity and art. I am painting a lot, and I intend to sing and play on my guitar more. These are excellent ways to improve creativity and avoid anxiety. They saved my mental health during these challenging times.

Lastly: which question do you wish recruiters would ask you?

Well, we are not just our resume; our characteristics go beyond the .pdf document that we attach to our application. It doesn’t matter if you have a CV full of degrees and impressive companies on it, if you don’t show any respect or kindness to the people around you. If you make it a toxic environment, if you don’t know how to listen, or if you treat people like robots. So, I believe the right answer would be: Who are you besides your CV?

Also, I would suggest candidates ask about the work environment itself. A healthy atmosphere is vital to make us get up in the morning, more motivated, and happy. I wish more and more businesses would value this.

Update: a few days after I interviewed her, Caroline was offered a job as a Marketing Professional. Told you. Nothing is permanent.

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